Tax Refunds Boost Vacations to Luxury Status during Periods of Economic Growth, Say Travel Leaders Experts

Nearly $3,000 back from the IRS allows travelers to add on vacation upgrades

Plymouth, MN (April 6, 2017) — Many of the approximately 70% of American taxpayers who will receive a tax refund from the IRS will want to spend it to take a vacation, say Travel Leaders ( – America’s largest retail travel agency brand with thousands of travel agents across the United States. The average refund in 2016 was $2,860 and the IRS predicts similar numbers for 2017. A sizable Federal tax refund combined with money back from state or property taxes means the average consumer is receiving at least $3,000. Travel Leaders travel agents are counseling consumers on how to increase their tax refund buying power by boosting their vacation plans to luxury experiences.

“When consumers receive a financial windfall, there’s a tendency to want to treat themselves to something nice like a vacation, or splurge on something they have been dreaming about. When travelers receive a sizable tax refund, some see it as an opportunity to upgrade the vacations they are already planning,” said Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network. “With an improved economic outlook, many of our travel agents’ clients have requested more adventurous and luxurious travel experiences. In fact, more than 80 percent of our luxury-focused travel agents answering our recent survey said their bookings are higher than or equal to last year for high-end hotels, luxury cruises and escorted tours, suites on cruise ships and First and Business Class air travel.”

Given the enormous personal expertise and connections Travel Leaders travel agent professionals maintain within the travel industry, they are carefully guiding travelers on options to extend standard vacation travel plans and elevate their overall experiences. Among the myriad tips Travel Leaders agents are offering as options for using all or part of tax refunds, are several in the United States:

  • Expanding your experience at Disney. “Upgrade your room at one of the deluxe resorts to the club level that includes magical little extras around every corner,” advised Melissa Gutting, with Travel Leaders, in River Falls, Wisconsin. “Let’s not forget about the Private VIP Tours that Disney World offers. You’ll enjoy door-to-door service, preferred seating and ultimate VIP treatment throughout your day.”
  • Riding by helicopter over Hawaii. “I recommend a helicopter ride over the Haleakala crater in Maui. I did this myself and it was spectacular. We had great views of all the water falls. A complete island tour from the air is a great way to enhance an experience for up to five travelers,” said Sarah Nelson Wandrey of Travel Leaders, Mesa, AZ. “On Oahu one can venture underwater for a submarine voyage off picturesque Waikiki Beach.”
  • Tasting regional wines. “When vacationing in Napa Valley, a luxury experience can entail intimate private wine tastings, a catered gourmet luncheon at a private winery, and opportunities to tour vineyards, caves, and cellars with the principal people involved in making wine,” said Carol Horner of Travel Leaders in Virginia, Beach, VA. “Finish with an intimate winemaker dinner in a cave.
  • Cruising down California’s Pacific Coast. “Rent a Lamborghini or Ferrari to drive down the California Coast on Highway 1 and stay at a luxury house right on the beach,” said Michelle Bates of Travel Leaders in Davis, California. “It is a great way to tour the region.”

For travelers who are ready to splurge on an international vacation, Travel Leaders’ agents are offering additional options:

  • Booking an Eiffel Tower suite or romantic dinner in the Penthouse of the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris. “It’s the best view of the Eiffel Tower in town,” said Michelle Weller, of Travel Leaders in Houston, Texas. “I started to cry it looked so beautiful.  The hotel manager told me, ‘It’s ok; it happens every time.’” If booked through Travel Leaders’ Select Hotels & Resorts, clients receive complimentary breakfast daily, a welcome bottle of champagne, and a hotel credit to be used for dining or the spa, among other amenities.
  • “Staying in a glass igloo in Finland as an upgrade to your Northern Lights experience,” advised Debbie Sebastian of Travel Leaders in Danville, Kentucky.  “It’s an amazing experience and only a few people take advantage of it.” There are romantic 2-person igloos. Or bring family or friends and opt for a 4-person igloo. They are available to book during the Aurora Borealis season from the end of August through end of April.
  • Enjoying a hot air balloon ride in Bagan, Myanmar, over the temples and stupas at sunrise or sunset.  “The views are fabulous,” exclaimed LaVonne Markus, Travel Leaders in Stillwater, Minnesota. Although a short balloon ride is not an expensive add-on, the adventurous can opt for a more extensive ride. There are 2-day private balloon safaris through the Southern Shan state, which allow travelers to venture off the beaten path for a remarkable experience above the boat-laden Inle Lake and the rolling hills of Pindaya.


“Travel Better” with Travel Leaders. Travel Leaders has travel agent specialists nationwide who provide expert advice on the perfect vacation, domestically or internationally. To find a qualified travel agent or to find the nearest Travel Leaders location, visit or call 800-335-TRIP (8747). #iTravel Better with @TravelLeaders.

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Travel Leaders is transforming travel with a name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. As one of America’s top ten-ranked travel companies, Travel Leaders has assisted millions of travelers through our strong roots – the former Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group joined together in 2008 to form one of the industry’s fastest-growing and robust networks of travel agents. Travel Leaders Franchise Group can trace its beginnings to 1984 as the franchise system “Ask Mr. Foster Travel,” which itself was North America’s first travel agency chain established in 1888.